Title:
Beverage container with prize delivery receptacle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A product container, for example, a beverage can, for dispensing an in-package prize when the container is opened. The container is sealed by a closure that the consumer peels back to gain access to the contents of the container. The prize, which is contained in a receptacle affixed to the underside of the closure, is revealed when the closure is peeled back. Due to the construction of the prize-delivery container, the container may concurrently hold both a prize and the consumer product.



Inventors:
Falkenberg, Robert J. (alpharetta, GA, US)
Biondich, Scott C. (Alpharetta, GA, US)
Adams, John E. (Alpharetta, GA, US)
Application Number:
09/828699
Publication Date:
10/10/2002
Filing Date:
04/06/2001
Assignee:
FALKENBERG ROBERT J.
BIONDICH SCOTT C.
ADAMS JOHN E.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/522
International Classes:
B65D17/50; B65D77/24; B65D81/32; (IPC1-7): B65D77/00; B65D25/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MOHANDESI, JILA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EVERSHEDS SUTHERLAND (US) LLP (999 PEACHTREE STREET, N.E. SUITE 2300, ATLANTA, GA, 30309, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A product container with a promotional item hidden until the container is opened, comprising: a container body comprising an interior and an opening permitting access to said interior; a closure member peelably-connected to said container body and temporarily sealing said opening, said closure member comprising an inside surface facing said interior of said container body, said inside surface being exposed to the consumer when said closure member is peeled away from said opening; and a promotional item integral with said closure member, said promotional item dimensioned to fit through said opening when said closure member is peeled away from said opening.

2. The product container of claim 1, wherein said container body comprises a cylindrical portion having a closed end and an open end, a lid portion sealed to said cylindrical portion over said open end, and a lid portion comprising an aperture therein.

3. The product container of claim 2, wherein said product container comprises a beverage container and said promotional item comprises a prize delivery receptacle formed from a liquid-impermeable material.

4. The product container of claim 3, wherein said closure member comprises a foil adhered to said lid portion around the periphery of said aperture.

5. The product container of claim 4, wherein said prize delivery receptacle is peelably attached to said inside surface of said closure member, whereby said prize delivery receptacle may be opened by the consumer after opening said product container to gain access to a prize contained in said prize delivery receptacle.

6. The product container of claim 5, wherein said container body comprises metal, said closure member comprises a metal foil, and said prize delivery receptacle comprises plastic.

7. The product container of claim 6, wherein said prize delivery receptacle comprises a semi-rigid container.

8. The product container of claim 7, wherein said prize delivery receptacle comprises a cup.

9. A closure and prize delivery assembly for a container having an aperture providing access to contents contained in said container, comprising: a closure member having an underside and constructed to be peelably sealed to said container around the periphery of said aperture, said closure member including a tab portion suitable for a consumer to grip and peel at least a portion of said closure member away from said container to expose said underside and said aperture; and a prize delivery receptacle integrally formed with said closure member.

10. The closure and prize delivery assembly of claim 9, wherein said prize delivery receptacle is peelably attached to said underside of said closure member.

11. The closure and prize delivery assembly of claim 10, wherein said prize delivery receptacle comprises a pouch attached to said underside of said closure member.

12. The closure and prize delivery assembly of claim 10, wherein said prize delivery receptacle comprises a cup.

13. The closure and prize delivery assembly of claim 10, wherein said prize delivery receptacle comprises a cup attached to said underside of said closure member.

14. The closure and prize delivery assembly of claim 9, wherein said prize delivery receptacle is formed by a volume captured between two layers of a material comprising said closure member.

15. The closure and prize delivery assembly of claim 9, wherein said prize delivery receptacle is formed from a liquid-impermeable material.

16. The closure and prize delivery assembly of claim 10, wherein said closure member is at least partially formed of a metal foil and said prize delivery receptacle comprises a plastic.

17. The closure and prize delivery assembly of claim 12, wherein said prize delivery receptacle comprises a semi-rigid container.

18. The closure and prize delivery assembly of claim 12, wherein said prize delivery receptacle comprises a cup attached to said underside of said closure member.

19. The closure and prize delivery assembly of claims 9, further comprising a flavoring positioned within said prize delivery receptacle.

20. A product container, comprising: a container body; a container top positioned on said container body; said container top comprising an aperture therein; and a closure sealing said aperture; said closure comprising a receptacle positioned about said aperture.

21. The container of claim 20, wherein said closure comprises a pull-tab lid.

22. The container of claim 20, further comprising an article positioned within said receptacle.

23. The container of claim 20, further comprising a liquid positioned within said receptacle.

24. The container of claim 20, wherein said receptacle comprises a cup.

25. The container of claim 20, wherein said receptacle comprises a sachet.

26. The container of claim 20, wherein said receptacle comprises a pull-tab.

27. The container of claim 20, wherein said receptacle comprises a cup with a frangible end.

28. A product container, comprising: a container body; a pull-top lid positioned on said container body; and said pull-top lid comprising a receptacle positioned thereon.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to a container including a prize-delivery receptacle, and more particularly to a beverage can with a prize-containing receptacle adhered to a foil tab closure.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] To stimulate sales, manufacturers of food and beverage products often use packaging as a promotional vehicle. One vehicle involves including a prize (or premium item) in some or all containers. For many years, this approach largely was confined to dry foods due to risks of possible contamination, product degradation, prize deterioration, structural complexities, and expense.

[0003] More recently, beverage manufacturers have attempted to address many of these concerns through an assortment of in-package prize-delivery mechanisms. For canned beverages, these developments have arisen largely in the context of the popular stay-on-tab can end. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,056,659 to Howes et al. describes a sealed prize compartment separated from the lower part of the container. The compartment includes a spring-activated sealed guide tube containing a prize, which is ejected when the consumer opens the stay-on-tab in the can lid. U.S. Pat. No. 5,046,631 to Goodman also shows a spring-activated guide tube that ejects a prize through the can opening. U.S. Pat. No. 5,482,158 also includes a guide tube, but relies on the buoyancy of trapped air in a prize-containing sachet to propel the prize through the can opening. These patents are incorporated herein by reference.

[0004] These known systems, however, suffer various drawbacks. Although adequate, in theory, for the delivery of prizes, the cans equipped with these systems tend to be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to manufacture. Such systems typically employ spring-loaded or other complex mechanical delivery mechanisms. Further, such systems generally must be fastened to the lid or the sidewalls of the container to align the prize-delivery compartment with the lid opening.

[0005] In practice, these systems have varying degrees of effectiveness as promotional vehicles. Because of the expense, the difficulty of manufacture, space constraints and, in some instances, the incompatibility of the materials, only a limited number of cans in the market actually may contain prizes or promotions. Further, the prize may not be readily accessible to the consumer due to misalignments or due to the nature of the prize-delivery mechanism. In some instances, the consumer is able to discern which cans do and do not contain the prize or promotion.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] Accordingly, an objective of the present invention is to provide an in-container prize-delivery mechanism for packaging, especially, for beverage cans, that avoids the limitations of previous devices and, particularly in the case of a highly preferred embodiment:

[0007] (1) provides a simple, space-efficient prize-delivery system for beverage containers with enhanced reliability;

[0008] (2) enables beverage containers to contain concurrently both a prize and a consumable beverage without one contaminating or contacting the other;

[0009] (3) assures alignment of the prize-delivery mechanism and the opening of the container so that the consumer always has reliable access to the prize;

[0010] (4) eliminates detection of a prize in an unopened container through handling or shaking; and

[0011] (5) allows for the rapid, inexpensive and uncomplicated manufacture of a closure and prize delivery assembly that can be conveniently and easily applied to a can during the beverage filling operation.

[0012] These objectives are fulfilled by providing a product container with a prize-delivery receptacle hidden in the interior of the container until a consumer opens the container. The product container may include: (1) a container body including an interior and an opening permitting consumer access to the interior; (2) a closure member peelably-connected to the container body and temporarily sealing the opening, the closure member having an inside surface facing the interior of the container body, the inside surface being exposed to the consumer when the closure member is peeled away from the opening; and (3) a prize-delivery receptacle affixed to or integral with the closure member, the prize-delivery receptacle dimensioned to fit through the opening when the closure member is peeled away from the opening.

[0013] In a preferred embodiment, the product container is a metal beverage can with an open end having an aperture enclosed by a lid. The closure member may be a foil which temporary seals the aperture. The prize-delivery receptacle may be a plastic, a semi-rigid container, a packet, or a foil layer or pouch that houses a prize. The receptacle may be peelably-adhered to the underside of the foil or otherwise accessed.

[0014] The container body may include a cylindrical portion having a closed end and an open end. A lid portion may be sealed to the cylindrical portion over the open end. The lid may include an aperture therein. The closure member may include a foil adhered to the lid portion around the periphery of the aperture. The product container may be a beverage container. The promotional item may include a prize delivery receptacle formed from a liquid-impermeable material. The prize delivery receptacle may be peelably attached to the inside surface of the closure member. The prize delivery receptacle may be opened by the consumer after opening the product container to gain access to a prize contained in the prize delivery receptacle. The container body may include a metal, the closure member may include a metal foil, and the prize delivery receptacle may include a plastic. The prize delivery receptacle may include a semi-rigid container or a cup.

[0015] A further embodiment of the present invention may provide for a closure and prize delivery assembly. The assembly may be used for a container having an aperture for providing access to the contents therein. The closure member may have an underside and may be peelably sealed to the container around the periphery of the aperture. The closure member may include a tab portion suitable for a consumer to grip and peel at least a portion of the closure member away from the container to expose the underside and the aperture. A prize delivery receptacle may be integrally formed with the closure member.

[0016] The prize delivery receptacle may be peelably attached to the underside of the closure member. The prize delivery receptacle may include a pouch attached to the underside of the closure member, a cup, a volume captured between two layers of the closure member, or a semi-rigid container. The prize delivery receptacle also may include a plastic or a liquid-impermeable material. A flavoring may be positioned within the prize delivery receptacle. The closure member may be at least partially formed of a metal foil.

[0017] A further embodiment of the present invention may provide for a product container. The product container may include a container body and a container top positioned on the container body. The container top may include an aperture therein. A closure may seal the aperture. The closure may include a receptacle positioned about the aperture. The closure may include a pull-tab lid. An article or a liquid may be positioned within the receptacle. The receptacle may include a cup, a sachet, a pull-tab, or a cup with a frangible end.

[0018] A further embodiment of the present invention may provide for a product container. The product container may include a body and a pull-top lid positioned on the container body. The pull-top lid may include a receptacle positioned thereon.

[0019] As used herein, the term “promotional item” means any prize, or indication of winning a prize, including but not limited to an award, money, novelties, coupons, food or beverage additives, candy, sound or other chips and related circuitry to deliver an audible, vibratory, or visual message, etc. and/or a receptacle for containing same.

[0020] Other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon review of the following detailed description of the invention when taken in conjunction with the drawings and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0021] FIG. 1 top perspective view of the closure on the container of the present invention.

[0022] FIG. 2 is a side perspective view of the closure being removed from the container of FIG. 1.

[0023] FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of the prize-delivery receptacle, shown after the closure for the container of FIG. 1 is partially opened.

[0024] FIG. 4 is a side cross-sectional view of the container and the closure of FIG. 1.

[0025] FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the heat sealed regions of the closure as placed on the container of FIG. 1

[0026] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the closure on the container of FIG. 1.

[0027] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the closure.

[0028] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the closure.

[0029] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the closure.

[0030] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the closure.

[0031] FIG. 11 is a side cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment of the container and the closure of the present invention.

[0032] FIG. 12 is a top plan view of the container of FIG. 11.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0033] Referring in more detail to the drawings, in which like numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views, FIGS. 1 through 6 illustrate a conventional product container for use with the present invention. For example, a beverage container, which includes a can 1 having a cylindrical body 2. The cylindrical body 2 is normally drawn from a single sheet of aluminum. After the can 1 is filled with a beverage, a top 3 is crimped in place to seal the open end 4 at the top of the cylindrical body 2. The top 3 may include a pull-tab lid 5. The pull-tab lid 5 may include a sealing portion 6 and a gripping tab 7. The sealing portion 6 temporarily covers an aperture 8 within the top 3. In this embodiment, the pull-tab 5 preferably is a conventional lacquer-coated aluminum foil that is heat sealed around the periphery of the aperture 8 in a manner permitting the consumer to grip the tab 7 and peel back the pull-tab 5 as shown in FIGS. 2, 3, and 6. Normally, the tab 7 is simply an extended end of the foil and embossed to facilitate gripping.

[0034] A prize-delivery receptacle 9 may house an article 10 therein. The receptacle 9 may be attached to the underside of the pull-tab 5 itself such that when the consumer peels the pull-tab 5 back from the aperture 8, the consumer has ready access to the prize-delivery receptacle 9 as depicted in FIG. 3.

[0035] The prize-delivery receptacle 9 may be made out of any food-grade material, such as PET, PEN, other plastics, aluminum, steel, or other material of sufficient rigidity, strength, and configuration. The receptacle 9 may be sized so as house the article 10 while fitting within the dimensions of the aperture 8. Further, the receptacle 9 should be able to be affixed to the underside of and/or formed integrally with the pull-tab 5. Likewise, the receptacle 9 should be suitable for use with beverages. The receptacle 9 should be constructed such that its integrity remains intact and the beverage does not come into contact with the article 10. The receptacle 9 may be closed or open, provided that the open end is sealed to the underside of the pull-tab 5. In other words, the receptacle 9 should be liquid impermeable when affixed to the pull-tab 5.

[0036] Although metal may be used, preferably the receptacle 9 is made of a plastic material. Suitable plastics include, but are not limited to, ethylene copolymers, such as, polypropylene and polyethylene; polycarbonates; polyesters, such as, polyethylene terephthalate, PEN, nylons, etc. or any type of conventional plastic suitable for the purpose. The material should be acceptable for use with beverage containers on the basis of safety, taste, and compatibility with beverage ingredients.

[0037] The prize-delivery receptacle 9 may be affixed to the underside of the pull-tab 5 by heat sealing or by the use of an appropriate adhesive or other configuration that will insure that the receptacle 9 remains sealed from the article 10 therein and integral with the pull-tab 5 from the time of manufacture until the consumer opens the closure and releases the article 10. For example, upon peeling back the closure, the consumer may see the article 10 or the receptacle 9 integrally engaged with the underside of the closure. The consumer may then break or peel off the receptacle 9, or otherwise gain access to the article 10. Preferably, the material selected also will be peelable such that the consumer may peel the receptacle 9 from the underside of the pull-tab 5 and extract the article 10.

[0038] The article 10 may be a prize, a promotional or premium item, or message, or an indication of a prize or a promotional or premium item, including the tightly rolled currency illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. For purposes of nomenclature, the term “prize” may be used to describe any article, including, those identified in this paragraph, which may be housed within the prize-delivery receptacle 9. In addition to the article 10, the receptacle 9 also can be used to house additional flavorings, colorants, foaming agents, or other ingredients to allow the consumer to modify the flavor profile or other properties of the product to suit personal preferences. Rather than the receptacle 9, or in addition to it, a message contained on the underside of the closure or the receptacle can be provided, e.g., with laser inscribed foil message slips or other indicia-containing articles, e.g., that notify a consumer that he or she has won a prize. The underside of the closure also can have a peel-off sticker or other type of promotional items.

[0039] The invention illustrated in FIGS. 1-6 may be fabricated using lamination and gluing techniques suited for continuous production, and may be applied to the container. Specifically the sealing portion 6 of the pull-tab 5 should sufficiently seal the aperture 8 of the top 3 so as to maintain properly the product therein. Such methods are generally known to those skilled in the art. Examples include use on several commercially available juice containers and similar products.

[0040] The prize-delivery receptacle 9 is illustrated herein as being in the shape of a flanged cup. However, other configurations are possible, e.g., a cube, a sealed bag, a second layer of foil, etc. For example, FIGS. 7-10 show several alternative embodiments of the receptacle 9. FIG. 7 shows the receptacle 9 in the form of a pocket 20 with a pull-tab 21 attached thereto. The pocket 20 may be made out of a foil material or any of the materials described above with respect to the receptacle 9. The pocket 20 may be peelably attached to the pull-tab 5 as is also described above.

[0041] FIG. 8 shows the receptacle 9 in the form of a sachet 25. The sachet 25 may be largely pouch-like in shape or have any similar shape. The sachet 25 may be made out of any of the materials described above with respect to the receptacle 9. The sachet 25 may be peelably attached to the pull-tab 5 as is also described above.

[0042] FIG. 9 shows the receptacle 9 in the form of a cup 30. The cup 30 may have a pull-tab 31 attached thereto. The cup 30 and the pull-tab 31 may be made out of any of the materials described above with respect to the receptacle 9. The cup 30 may be peelably attached to the pull-tab 5 as is also described above. The pull-tab 31 may be made out of a foil or any of the materials described above.

[0043] FIG. 10 shows the receptacle 9 in the form of a cup 35 with a break-off tab 36 attached to a bottom side 37 of the cup 35. The cup 35 may be made out any of the materials described above with respect to the receptacle 9. The cup 35 may be firmly attached to the pull-tab 5. The break-off tab 36 and the bottom side 37 may be removable from the remainder of the cup 35. The bottom side 37 may be scored or frangible so as to assist in separating the bottom side 37 from the cup 35. Other types of conventional separation techniques may be used.

[0044] FIGS. 11-12 illustrate another embodiment of the invention in which a top end 40 of the can 1 includes a tear-off tab 41 sealed by crimping to the open end 4, i.e., a “Pringles”-type can. The tear-off tab 41 of the can 1 is formed in the conventional manner by scoring the top end 40 around an aperture 42. The tear-off tab 41 includes a rivet 43 to connect the scored portion to a ring 44. When the ring 44 is lifted and peeled back, the entire tear-off tab 41 separates from the can 1 so as to reveal the prize-delivery receptacle 9. The prize-delivery receptacle 9 may be attached to and/or integral with the underside of the tear-off tab 41 as described previously.

[0045] As is apparent, a number of variations and modifications may be made in this invention without departing from its spirit and scope. For example, although various embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated with respect to beverage cans, the invention may be used for other foods and/or packaging. For example, a prize-delivery receptacle as provided herein could be attached to the underside of an opening flap for a box of cereal. Moreover, application of this invention is not restricted to food and beverage containers but may be used for other liquid or dry packaged goods, such as, e.g., laundry detergent, cleaning products, etc. Accordingly, the above description is to be construed as illustrative only and not limiting. It should be apparent that the foregoing relates only to the preferred embodiments of the present invention and that numerous changes and modifications may be made herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.